4.14.2017

Some Thoughts on Blog Growth and Selling Yourself


I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about how I wanted to be a full-time blogger. Posting that was kind of the metaphorical fire under my butt that I needed to get serious about growing my online presence. I've done a lot of reading since then about how to achieve blog growth and how to earn income from your blog. Some of it has been helpful, some of it has not, and most of it has been confusing and overwhelming. There's a lot of work that goes into pimping yourself out!





ON FINDING MY NICHE

Time and again, I've read successful bloggers state that new bloggers need to decide on their niche. Are you going to be a food blogger? A fashion blogger? A financial blogger? This will help direct and guide your posting and will allow potential followers to more easily determine whether they like what you're selling.

But here's the thing- I don't have a niche. I've even pushed myself to try and commit to one, but there's not one thing that I love enough to solely blog about. I love my life. I want to blog about motherhood. I want to blog about cooking and recipes. I want to blog about feminism and social justice. I want to blog about my marriage and decorating my home. I don't fit neatly into one category, and though it could be hampering my success, I really don't want to. I'm not a mirror, I'm a prism. (Was that a dumb metaphor? Whatever, I'm tired. Moving on...)

GRAPHICS

I have gotten somewhat better about my graphics. I still think a DSLR would be helpful in this arena, but I know it's not the end all, be all. The thing I still don't get is- am I supposed to be making eleven million different graphics for each post? Horizontal photos look better in posts. Vertical photos look better in Pinterest. Square photos look better in Instagram. Gah! Why can't I use the same graphic across all platforms?!

EMAIL LIST

Nearly every "how to grow your blog"-type article I've read stresses the impact having a newsletter/email list can have on your traffic. But since I don't have a niche or a product to sell, I'm not sure whether this applies to me. Logically, I can see how sending blog-related content directly to people's inboxes can be effective. However, how would I incentivize signing up for emails? What do I have to offer subscribers that they're not already getting from my blog? It's something I've been thinking a lot about and I don't yet have an answer.

TRACKING STATS AND GROWTH

It would be very easy for me to become discouraged by the rate of growth (or lack thereof). It's not that I expect to become an overnight blogging sensation, but I wish there was more return on investment, so to speak. That being said, if nothing else, I did one really smart thing. I created a spreadsheet on Google Docs and each week, I update it with my pageviews, sessions, etc. from Google Analytics as well as number of followers on my social media platforms. It keeps me from getting discouraged when I can track week-by-week that I am actually growing. Since I started tracking it about a month ago, my pageviews have increased significantly and I have 60+ new Instagram followers. Slow but steady wins the race, right?

AFFILIATE LINKS

This is the other thing I keep hearing about- make money with affiliate links! Okay, but I didn't start blogging to become a used car salesman. I want to write authentically about my life. How do I incorporate affiliate links into my blog in a natural and organic way? I don't want to sell my writer soul to make a quick buck (however useful that buck would be right about now).

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If you've been blogging for awhile, have you grappled with these same things? 

7 comments:

  1. Honestly, I think it's all a load of garbage. I'm a big believer in organic growth and remaining true to you. Then again, I'm not trying to make an income from blogging.

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  2. I like Ever Emma's comment! Some of my favorite blogs I quit reading because it was always a review, they were trying to sell their services, or the prompt to sign up for their newsletter always popped up and irritated me. To make money I know you have to do some of that but it seems they all end up becoming a commercial website. You have the ability to craft your own niche. I think it's time for a new one!

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    1. Sorry! I had published my comment twice.

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  4. GIRL, I HEAR YOU. About a year ago, I started really looking into making money from my blog. I joined up with a bunch of groups (I think I've shared most of them with you?) and found out all the "secrets". I was pretty sure I had hit the backpot and all I had to do was start hustling! Well, I did for a few months. I reached out to many companies, started making multiple graphics for each post....and then I got burnt out. I was spending so much time on all the graphics (hate them) and trying to grow my numbers that I had nothing left in me to write.
    So I honestly quit doing that. I still struggle with the balance between putting in the work it takes to make money and just writing because I enjoy to write. UGH. Let's have a coffee date sometime and share blog growing/newsletter strategies? Seriously.

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  5. I can't get any more specific than Mommy/Lifestlye as my niche. Basically all things I want to write about fit into there.

    Check out Canva.com for making making graphics easier. My philosophy is vertical image with text for Pinterest, horizontal images for the blog, and one of those horizontal images for IG with a captain about what the post is rather than text on the IG post.

    I haven't felt like the time put into sending e-mails is worth it for me yet. I do have a sign-up form on my sidebar but I don't plan on sending e-mails any time soon. It is however a good way to grow your traffic. Contests are a good way to get e-mail addresses.

    I do the same with a Google Analytics sheet only monthly!

    When it comes to affiliate links I feel like Amazon Affiliates is the most natural for me. I only link to things I already own and pretty much everything is on Amazon!

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  6. i am the worst person to comment on this as i totally don't care about blog growth or anything like that, though your spreadsheet idea is very smart for those who want to do that! i will say i despise newsletters and things like that, i never sign up, and if someone puts me on when i didn't sign up, it makes me really mad.
    i had to laugh at 'I'm not a mirror, I'm a prism.' me too girl, me too.
    as for affiliate links - i only use them in my packing posts, because they are the ones that are shared on pinterest and the like - and this is going to sound a bit douchey, but with people i don't 'know'. if i am just blogging about books i'm reading or random things i bought in my everyday posts, i feel rude or sneaky using affiliate links. that's just me. so i just use them on those kinds of posts, and always disclose.
    anyway. i do wish you all the best though! keep on prism-ing on.

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